Frequently Asked Questions

Over 15 years professional home inspection services in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill Research Triangle areas.

Tips for Sellers – How to Prepare for a Home Inspection.

1A home inspector is required to inspect inside electrical panels, attic spaces and crawl spaces. Making sure the inspector has unimpeded access to these areas will help the inspection go smoothly.

2If you have service records for any major components (such as furnaces and air conditioning), or invoices or engineering reports for any structural repairs that have been done to the house making them available to the inspector can answer questions he may raise and reduce the possibility of his calling for further evaluation on these systems.

3If there is any paper or wood scrap in the crawl space, or firewood stacked near the foundation, having it removed will greatly reduce the possibility of pest inspectors finding termites, which can result in an expensive treatment.

4Be sure splash blocks or drain pipes are in place on all gutter downspouts, and that gutters are clean. Then check grading around the foundation to be sure all surface water drains away from the home. Water accumulation near the foundation is a primary cause of crawl space or basement water leakage, mold growth and foundation settlement. These can be expensive to repair.

5Check the GFCI outlets around the house to be sure they trip when tested. This is one of the most common electrical defects found, and easily repaired by an electrician.

6Check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to be sure they sound. Go ahead and replace batteries if they are battery operated.

7Change the furnace filters. Basic, I know, but so often ignored.

8Make my job easy. If you know of any defects, go ahead and get them repaired before marketing the home. A good inspector will probably find them anyway, plus some things you don’t know about (it’s our job). Making repairs while you can take your time and get the best prices instead of waiting until the sale of your home is on the line can save you a significant amount of money. I can also tell you from experience that my clients (the buyers) are always impressed when there is not much for me to find.

View a Video on Home Inspection Tips for Seller’s by following the link below:

Tips for Buyers – What to Expect from a Home Inspection.

1A home purchase is one of the largest financial investments most families ever make, so you want the best inspector you can find working for you. The home inspector’s job is to give you, the client, as accurate a picture as possible (or, practical) of the condition of the house at the time of the inspection. Items that must be included in an inspection, as well as those that are not required, are listed in the NC Home Inspector Standards of Practice (.pdf). This is the minimum that must be done by any inspector in North Carolina. Our reports exceed the standards in several areas. A sample report can be viewed here: Fred Herndon Home Inspection Sample Report (.pdf) .

2A home inspection is essentially visual in nature, and is not technically exhaustive. We do not perform destructive testing (such as cutting into a wall to see if it is properly insulated), and do not enter dangerous areas such as wet, excessively steep or snow covered roofs.

3Your inspector should give you a clear and concise written report and should be ready to answer any questions you may have about the house or report. All our clients have free phone or e-mail consultation as long as they are living in the home. Half of our job is to be sure that you understand the home you are buying. If you interview an inspector who does not want you to attend the inspection, that should be a pretty clear signal to call someone else!

4While price is a consideration, it is not the most important. The level of experience an inspector may have, and his or her previous background makes a huge difference, along with the inspectors ability to communicate his or her findings clearly and effectively. Ask for a copy of a sample report, preferably one done recently. This can give you a better idea of what to expect.

5Be sure your inspector is not only licensed, but is a member of at least one of the professional organizations in North Carolina. Membership in trade groups shows someone who is engaged in his or her profession and is actively working to improve his or her skills and knowledge.

6Many real estate agents will give you recommendations for inspectors. This can be perfectly fine; an experienced Realtor should know who does a good job and who does not. Unfortunately there are some inspectors who tend to “minimize” important issues. If your Realtor gives you a list of inspectors, ask them one question: If your son or daughter was buying this house, who would you recommend?

7There is no such thing as a perfect house. I have been in the home inspection business since 1994 and have not found one yet, so do not be discouraged when your inspector comes back with a list of recommended repairs that is a bit longer than you expected. This is our job. Usually the sellers will be willing to fix the more serious items (they probably didn’t know about them, either), or will make price concessions in order to sell the home.

8Do not wait to schedule your inspection. In North Carolina, the standard real estate contract gives you a due diligence period to get all inspections made. The home inspection and pest inspection should be first on the list. These will determine if additional inspections such as an engineering evaluation is needed, or if you need a heating contractor, roofer or electrician.

View a Video on Home Inspection Tips for Buyer’s by following the link below:

Choosing a Home Inspector

Fred Herndon Home Inspections, Inc. believes there are several important questions you should have answered before you select your home inspector. If you have any additional questions, please call or send us a message and we will address those as well.

1. What does your inspection cover?

The inspector should ensure that their inspection and inspection report will meet all applicable requirements in your state if applicable and will comply with a well-recognized standard of practice and code of ethics. You should be able to request and see a copy of these items ahead of time and ask any questions you may have. If there are any areas you want to make sure are inspected, be sure to identify them upfront.

2. How long have you been practicing in the home inspection profession and how many inspections have you completed?

The inspector should be able to provide his or her history in the profession and perhaps even a few names as referrals. Newer inspectors can be very qualified, and many work with a partner or have access to more experienced inspectors to assist them in the inspection.

3. Are you specifically experienced in residential inspection?

Related experience in construction or engineering is helpful, but is no substitute for training and experience in the unique discipline of home inspection. If the inspection is for a commercial property, then this should be asked about as well.

4. Do you offer to do repairs or improvements based on the inspection?

Some inspector associations and state regulations allow the inspector to perform repair work on problems uncovered in the inspection. Other associations and regulations strictly forbid this as a conflict of interest.

5. How long will the inspection take?

The average on-site inspection time for a single inspector is 2 to 4 hours depending on the condition and size of the property. Anything significantly less may not be enough time to perform a thorough inspection. Additional inspectors may be brought in for very large properties and buildings.

6. How much will it cost?

Costs vary dramatically, depending on the level and type of inspection, the property floor area, property geographical location and the inspector’s qualifications. A typical range might be $225–$500, but consider the value of the home inspection in terms of the investment being made. Inspection cost does not necessarily reflect quality.

7. What type of inspection report do you provide and how long will it take to receive the report?

Ask to see samples and determine whether or not you can understand the inspector’s reporting style and if the time parameters fulfill your needs. Most inspectors provide their full report within 24 hours of the inspection.

8. Will I be able to attend the inspection?

This is a valuable educational opportunity, and an inspector’s refusal to allow this should raise a red flag. Never pass up this opportunity to see your prospective home through the eyes of an expert.

9. Do you maintain membership in a professional home inspector association?

There are many state and national associations for home inspectors. Request to see their membership ID, and perform whatever due diligence you deem appropriate.

10. Do you participate in continuing education programs to keep your expertise up to date?

One can never know it all, and the inspector’s commitment to continuing education is a good measure of his or her professionalism and service to the consumer. This is especially important in cases where the home is much older or includes unique elements requiring additional or updated training.

Unbiased, Accurate and Thorough Home Inspections